Officials are planning a dramatic conversion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike to all electronic tolling with no more toll plazas or cash payments in about five years.
Turnpike Commission officials told state lawmakers that the project is the most ambitious of its kind in the nation.
Instead of driving through toll plazas, vehicles will pass beneath sensors that will automatically deduct tolls from E-Z Pass accounts or photograph license plates so a bill can be sent to the owner.
In July, the commission hired a contractor—HNTB Corp., a Missouri company with five offices including one in Harrisburg—to move forward with the plans to convert to an all-electronic tolling system that would eliminate the use of cash along the 545-mile route, according to a Pennlive.com report.
It costs more than $67 million a year to staff toll plazas and that cost is projected to rise to $77 million by 2014.
Meanwhile, turnpike tolls will increase in January:
- 10 percent more for cash customers
- 2 percent more for E-Z Pass customers
- New rates start January 6
The last time tolls went up was January 2011.
The commission says the change will hike toll revenue 3 percent to fulfill a $450 million funding obligation to the state.